Firsts In Women's Sports History

There's no doubt that there have always been athletic, strong, and talented women, but they haven't always had the opportunity to compete. MAKERS takes a look back through photos at firsts in women's sports history.

From the first women's golf tournament and the first woman to swim across the English Channel, to Danica Patrick's Indy Car successes and the first girl to dunk a basketball in a high school game, women continue to prove just how incredible they can be on and off the field.

Check out some amazing firsts in women's sports in the gallery above.

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Gallery

1811 | The first known women’s golf tournament is held at Musselburgh Golf Club, Scotland, among the town fishwives. Photo Credit: themusselburghgolfclub.com

1856 | Catherine Beecher publishes the first exercise manual for women. Photo Credit: Getty Images

1884 | The YWCA in Boston builds the first gymnasium for women.   Photo Credit: ywcaboston.org

1888 | Berta Benz becomes the first woman to drive on a 60 mile trip cross-country in Germany in a "motor-wagon" with only her two teenage sons along. Photo Credit: Automuseum Dr. Carl Benz, Ladenburg

1890 | Nellie Bly becomes the first woman to travel around the world alone. Photo Credit: Getty Images

1908 | Madge Syers wins the first women's Olympic gold medal in figure skating. She also competed as a pairs skater with her husband Edgar Syers, winning the bronze medal the same year.

1917 | Lucy Diggs Slowe becomes the first African-American woman to win a national title in any sport when she wins the first women's title at the American Tennis Association (ATA) national tournament.

1926 | Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim the English Channel.   Photo Credit: Getty Images

1928 | Women are finally allowed to compete in Olympic track and field events. In this image, Norma Wilson, the New Zealand 100 yard Olympic sprinter, trains in London for the Amsterdam games.  Photo Credit: SSPL via Getty Images

1948 | Alice Coachman is the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She grabs her gold in the high jump. Photo Credit: Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

1959 | Patty Berg hits a hole-in-one in the U.S. Women's Open. She's the first woman to score an ace in a United States Golf Association tournament. Photo Credit: Getty Images

1967 | Kathrine Switzer is the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon which had been all-men for the last 70 years.    

1972 | Maria Pepe, at 12 years old, became one of the first girls to play in Little League. She pitched three games for her Hoboken, N.J., team before Little League officials forced her to quit. 

1987 | Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first woman athlete on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Photo Credit: Getty Images

1997 | Violet Palmer breaks a major glass ceiling in sports when she becomes the first woman to officiate in the NBA, as well as the first female official in any major U.S. professional sport.

2004 | Two years after becoming the first girl in Illinois to dunk a basketball in a high school game, Candace Parker wins the McDonald's High School All-American dunk contest competing against five boys. Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

2008 | On April 20, Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300, becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2013 | Rosie Napravnik, atop filly Unlimited Budget, will become first female jockey to compete in all three Triple Crown races in same year. It would also be the first female jockey-filly pair to win a Triple Crown race. Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images